Softball Rules

Softball Rulebook 

Payment 

Payments are made online with a credit card on our encrypted, secure site. Individual payments or corporate sponsors are welcome. Payments cover permitting, equipment, officiating, management, credit card fees, and general insurance costs.  75% of team payments must be paid online to be put on the schedule.  All remaining payments are due prior to each team's 1st game.  Cash and check will be accepted prior to each team's 1st game.  Free agents must register and pay prior to being assigned to a team.

Operation/Refund Policy: SFCS leagues are viable with a minimum of 4 teams per league. Pre-season cancellation fees are 30% of total fees due and cancellation MUST be requested IN WRITING via fax, email, or USPS mail at least three (3) business days prior to the start of the league. Business days are considered to be Monday through Friday. No phone call cancellations are allowed. There are no refunds for any league already started or ready to start within three (3) business days. If a league does not become viable, full refunds will be given if team does not want, or cannot, be placed in another SFCS league. League times and locations are as listed. However, SFCS reserves the right to change specific league locations and operating times as necessary due to any required scheduling changes either on a weekly or seasonal basis. SFCS also reserves the right to shorten any league due to multiple weather cancellations or unforeseen circumstances without any refund or credits provided. Verbal registrations will not be accepted and will not be considered as confirmation for holding a team or individual spot without receipt of full payment. For sponsored teams, any fees paid by an individual for a team may be refunded upon an equal payment provided by a third party to SFCS with reference to league/location. All SFCS leagues and social events have a minimum age requirement of 21 years old.  All SFCS participants must be in good health to participate.  SFCS reserves the right to refuse any individual or team without explanation. Upon registration, SFCS league rules and regulations are to be followed by any and all team members and individuals. All participants of each SFCS league or event must sign a waiver of liability to participate. Failure or refusal to waive liability will result in non-participation for that individual and will void any refund. Printed rules and league regulations are available upon request. Failure to abide by SFCS rules and regulations will result in forfeiture of league/event participation and void any refunds. 

Schedules/Holidays 

Start/end dates and game times are posted on each league's homepage. Start/end dates, locations and game times are subject to change based on field availability, rainouts, and unforeseen circumstances which may arise. Schedules are posted after registration is closed and all payments have been received. Schedule requests must come from team captains, and must be submitted in writing at least three [3] business days prior to the start of Week 1 games. SFCS Directors will make every effort to honor each schedule request. However, SFCS Directors reserve the right to schedule any team for any of the advertised dates and game times posted on the league homepage. Bye requests will likely result in teams playing doubleheaders before or after their week off.

The following holidays will be automatic byes for all leagues:

New Years Day (Jan. 1)

Memorial Day Weekend (Friday-Monday)

Fourth of July Weekend (Friday-Sunday)

Labor Day Weekend (Friday-Monday)

Thanksgiving Weekend (Wednesday-Sunday)

Christmas Eve through New Years Eve (Dec. 23 - Dec. 31)

Unless parks/venues are closed, games will be scheduled for the following holidays unless a majority of teams request a bye prior to Week 1: MLK Weekend, Valentine's Day, Easter Sunday, St. Patrick's Day, Cinco De Mayo, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Columbus Day, Halloween, & Veteran's Day. 

Eligibility/Uniform

Every player must preregister online and accept the league waiver prior to participation for every season. Registration will be closed after each team's 5th game, and late additions must be approved by the opposing captain in each playoff game.  Every player must prepay in full.  Every player must wear a SFCS uniform in order to participate. Every player must provide a photo ID during the playoffs (only the opposing captain or SFCS staff may waive this requirement).    

Protest/Appeal

During a game, a protest must be made to an official before the next live ball situation and must involve a misapplication or misinterpretation of a playing rule.  Arguing balls/strikes and other judgment calls will result in one team warning followed by ejections for subsequent offenses.  If the official finds the protest valid, they will overturn the call.  In most cases, protested games will not be replayed. Protests for player eligibility or scores must be submitted in writing by 5pm the day after the game.

Only the team captain may argue a rule interpretation.  However, any team member may make an appeal (leaving a base early, missing a base, batting out of order, illegal bat, etc.)  Appeals are time-sensitive and batter-sensitive, so appeals should be made as soon as possible.  Late appeals will validate all previous plays.

Captains may protest the use of an illegal/non-ASA bat prior to the next live ball situation.  If a batter is proven to have used a non-sanctioned or illegal bat, the batter will be out and any runners returned to the previous base.  The opposing team will be awarded 3 (Bonus) runs. 

Legal Game/Forfeit

Games will start on time regardless of player turnout.  A forfeit cannot be declared until 10 minutes from the game clock have expired. Each team must have at least 7 teammates (including one woman) on the field or in the dugout prior the 10-minute forfeit window.  Shorthanded teams may pick up 1, 2, or 3 players from other teams in order to have 10 players total.  Any team with less than 10 players must take an automatic out each inning when the missing player(s) are up to bat.  Opposing captains may waive the forfeit rule and the 10-batter minimum at their discretion.

A team using a suspended player forfeits all games that the suspended player participates in. Teams knowingly using such a player may face additional sanctions.  Two forfeits by any team during a single season may result in expulsion from the league with no registration fees refunded to the team or its players. 

Game Stoppage (Rainline & Mercy Rule)

Call the Rainline (800.497.1852 ext. 4) every week for weather updates and cancelation information. In cases of inclement weather, other harmful conditions, darkness, or serious injuries, 4 innings (or 3 1/2 innings if the home team is ahead) will constitute a complete game.  Games which are postponed due to weather/injury before 4 full innings will resume, or be replayed entirely, on a later date.  Games which are postponed due to weather/injury after 4 full innings may revert back to the score of the previous inning (4th or after), if the postponement adversely affected one team.  If after 4 innings have been played, and one team is ahead by 12 or more runs, the umpire will call a meeting between the captains, and if one of the two captains wishes to end the game, the game will be called as a result of a mercy rule.  The umpire may end a mercy rule game due to time constraints or player hostility/frustration.

Standings/Ties/Extra Innings

Standings are based on points: 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, 0 points for a loss, and -1 point for a loss-by-forfeit. Playoff seeding is based on regular season standings. Season-run-differentials, then head-to-head records are used as tiebreakers.  Regular season games that are tied at the end of 7 innings or after the final inning in a time-limited game will remain tied.  Playoff games that are tied at the end of 7 innings or after the final inning in a time-limited game will proceed into extra innings.  In extra innings, each half inning will begin with a runner (last batter from the previous inning) on 2nd base.  If a team is ahead after one extra inning, that team is declared the winner.  If the teams are still tied, the extra-inning format is repeated.

Alcohol Policy

All city and county parks prohibit alcohol consumption.  Players, coaches, and fans must refrain from consuming alcohol on park grounds (including the field, dugout, stands, and parking lot). An umpire or SFCS staff member will issue one [1] team warning for any player who is seen with a beer can or bottle in-hand, or for any player who is seen throwing a can or bottle into the garbage bins. Subsequent violations will result in an ejection. Most parks will call the police if alcohol is spotted without warning.  Dangerous play by a visibly intoxicated player may result in an ejection, without warning.  A forfeit can be declared if multiple members of a team are visibly intoxicated.  Please visit our local bar sponsors to socialize with the team after the games. Check with your Event Contact or the Manager of our bar sponsors for league discounts and drink specials.

General Game Rules

GAME-

Games will last 7 innings or 55 minutes, whichever comes first.  A new inning starts when the last out is completed. Weather may force some games to end early.  All innings in progress after 55 minutes will be completed.  4 innings is a legal game (teams may tie, except for playoffs).

EQUIPMENT-

Bats must either bear the ASA 2000/2004 certification mark and not appear on the ASA non-approved bat list, or, in the umpire’s opinion, be manufactured prior to 2000.

Bats must be free of cracks or dents, and the end cap must be securely fastened to the barrel.  Tool marks, pins, and rough/sanded barrels will constitute an illegal/altered bat. 

Helmets are used at the discretion of each team.  Batters, runners, and infielders are permitted to wear a helmet or faceguard for safety purposes.  Teams/players are responsible for supplying their own helmets.

SFCS staff will provide captains with 5 standard ASA-certified balls (12"; 300 lbs; white or optic yellow) prior to the start of the season.  It is the responsibility of the home team of each game to supply a new ball.  The visiting team will supply a used backup ball.  Only ASA-certified balls are allowed (12", max 300 lbs) 

Metal cleats/spikes and sandals are prohibited.  Dangerous jewelry is prohibited (umpire's discretion). Pitchers may not wear a white/yellow batting glove on their pitching hand.

PLAYERS-

Only registered players may participate.  Every player must wear a SFCS uniform.  Photo ID is required in the playoffs.  Teams may only use players from their own roster in the playoffs.  A maximum of 7 men may play in the field.  A maximum of 9 men may bat.

7 teammates (including 1 female) are needed to start and finish a game. Shorthanded teams may pick up players from other teams (regular season only) to fill the top 10 spots in the order, but no extra batters. 

--11/4/13 NEW RULE--Dugouts are reserved for players only.  Spectators will be removed at umpire’s discretion.

LINE-UP/BATTING ORDER-

Both managers will review line-ups with the umpire before the game begins. 

Teams must bat a minimum of 10 players and a maximum of 12 players. The #11 and/or #12 batter may be added late if that team has not batted through the line-up, provided the umpire is notified of the addition(s).  Injured or ejected male batters may leave the game with no penalty as long as his team continues to bat 10 or more players (their turn at bat will be skipped). An automatic out applies to the #8, 9, and/or 10 batter if they are absent or must leave early.  

Each team must bat at least 3 women in the top 10 spots in the order (an automatic out applies for all absent women). Women may not bat consecutively, unless there are more than 3 women in the line-up. 

Batting out of order must be appealed by the defense before a pitch to the next batter.

PITCHING-

Pitchers must wait until the batter has both feet in the batter’s box before starting their delivery.  Pitchers must come to a complete stop for 1 second before starting their delivery.  Pitchers must keep 1 foot in contact with the rubber during their delivery. The ball must reach a height of 6’ but not exceed 12’.

“The Malpica Rule”- no player shall call time, yell, or commit any act during the pitchers delivery for the obvious purpose of distracting the pitcher (one warning will be issued for the team, followed by an ejection for subsequent offenses).

Delay of game tactics by a pitcher will result in a ball to the batter every 10 seconds.

BATTING-

Strike Zone- the space over home plate between the batter’s back shoulder and front knee (standing back in the batter’s box or crouching down will not affect the location of the strike zone).

Ball- any pitched ball which does not enter the strike zone (except on a swing), does not reach a height of 6' (except on a swing), exceeds 12' (except on a swing), hits the ground before home plate (before a swing), or hits home plate (before a swing).

Batters begin with a 1 ball and 1 strike count (batters are out on 3rd strike foul balls). Each team may hit a maximum of 3 home runs per game (excluding inside-the-park home runs).  For each over-the-fence home run after 3, an out will be declared and runners will be returned to their original base.  Batters must ask for a courtesy runner before batting (runner shall be the last out made; male for male, female for female). Umpires may grant a courtesy runner if a batter/runner is visibly injured. 

When a women is batting infielders must be even with or behind the base path and outfielders must be behind the coed line (if no line is visible, then outfielders must be 10’ behind the infield dirt).  If a male walks with a female batting behind, then he is awarded 2 bases (if there are two outs, then the female may bat or walk). 

Any batter who throws their bat in anger will be ejected without a warning. Any batter who throws their bat accidentally will receive a team warning, followed by an ejection for subsequent offenses (including offenses by a teammate).

Delay of game tactics by a batter/runner will result in a strike for the batter every 10 seconds.

RUNNING-

Interference- the act of any offensive player or team member that impedes, hinders, or confuses a defensive player attempting to execute a play (contact is not necessary). 

Runners must avoid all contact with a catcher on a play at home plate. Offending runners will be out for interference, and all runners will be returned to their last base touched at the time of interference. Runners interfering on a potential double play will be out, as well as the runner closest to home plate. Any dangerous play by a runner is grounds for an ejection. Runners who leave their base before the batter contacts the ball will be out and the ball will be dead.

FIELDING-

Obstruction- the act of a defensive player that impedes or hinders the progress of a runner, unless the fielder is in possession of the ball or in the act of fielding the ball (contact is not necessary). 

Fielders may not block the base or the base path without the ball. Fake tags by a fielder not in possession of the ball will result in a team warning, followed by an ejection for subsequent offenses. The ball remains live during all obstruction violations. Once the ball is dead, obstructed runners will be awarded the bases they would have reached had there been no obstruction.  An obstructed runner may be called out if they attempted to advance past their awarded base and are tagged out, or if they committed an act of interference.



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